Thursday, October 22, 2009

Am I Homeless?

A few days ago I was standing outside of a Fred Meyer grocery store watching our bikes while James loaded up on produce.  We take turns watching the bikes in some areas, because everything we live off of is on these bikes.  It's all we have. Homeless? Hmm...nah.  Ok, so I'm outside this store on this bench wearing clothes I've had on for 2 or 3 days.  I haven't shaved or cut my hair in 6 or 7 weeks, and I've been tossing and turning in a tent most nights, so I'm not looking too healthy.  Ten minutes go by and a lady in her 40s or 50s approaches me.  There is no introduction.  She is staring at me and looks very uncomfortable.  I look back and say, "hi, what's up?"

Then it all pours out...
"My son, Simon, chooses to be homeless.  He doesn't want to work, and does drugs.  I hope he doesn't do the bad drugs, but I know he's doing them.  I'm not mad at him, but I want him to know he can come back home.  Have you seen him?  I think he's under one of those bridges.  Can you tell him that I'm not mad.  Just tell him that he can come home."

I let her go on and on for around 10 minutes, the whole time thinking about how much pain this kid is putting on his mother and then about how bad I must look if she thinks I know where he is.  I didn't even tell her the bike trip story, I just told her that I would keep my eyes open.

I didn't have more than 5 minutes to think about what had just happened when I was approached again.  This time by a local guy who had been living out of his bike for 25 years.  I think he had one good tooth, and that was about it, but he seemed to be the happiest guy in the world.

It's funny how we judge people by how they look.  I think James said it best yesterday, "the more people we meet, the more we are all the same."  I'm still not sure how to take all of this, but I figured I'd share.

Anyone have any thoughts or stories?


Sunday, October 18, 2009

60 Miles to California

James and I are getting some food in Port Orford, OR while I catch up on the Browns game.  I was able to get some pictures up from the past month, but the upload time is very slow.  I have some great pictures of Eugene and Coos Bay, but will have to get them up in the next few days. (We are about to hit the road again.) 

The Oregon coast is beautiful.  We have slept in 50 - 60 degree weather the past 4 nights, two of which were on the beach.  The mornings and nights produce heavy fog and light rain, but the middle of the day is a slight overcast, but very humid. 

We are finding that riding at night right now is not an option and the days are getting shorter and shorter.  The first night we were on the coast from Eugene, we planned to ride about 5 miles into the night.  The sun started going down and we could see fine.  As soon as the sun was completly out of sight, and the fog came in, we were struggling to find the road.  Two miles into the fog, I had a car crest a hill in front of me and I didn't know where I was.  I tried to shield his headlights, but couldn't.  I was not about to wonder left, so I tried to stay as far right as I could.  I ended up dropping the front wheel off the burm and into 6 inches of sand.  I was traveling at around 12mph when I dropped the wheel, and in 6 inches of sand, a wheel doesn't spin, it sticks.  My back end came over the top of me as I flew over the handlebars.  Being the athlete that I am, my instincts took me into a "tuck and roll" position.  I rolled about 20 feet or so and jumped up to make sure I was out of the road.  I ran to the bike, dusted it off, and then checked it and myself for scratches or worse.  The bike had two small scratches, but it landed in a bed of sand.  I then examined myself and couldn't find one scratch or bruise.  Amazing!  I think the next 3 miles to camp I bike around 6mph or slower.  We are not biking in the dark again until we get off the coast.

We should make it to California later today.  I hope to have more pictures and a few more stories soon.





Ketchikan & Vancouver Island

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eugene/Coos Bay


Just a quick update...

Having been in Eugene, we checked out Hayward Field, all the "Pre" stuff in town, various restaurants, campus, and roads around town. It was very cool, sort of nostalgic, and felt a presence that most people do who are Track afficondos probably feel when around Eugene. Pre.

We then made it from Eugene to Coos Bay. From Eugene, it was a very scenic route along Crow Rd, Wolf Creek Rd, and Lower Smith River Rd before it dumped us onto Highway 101. We found a campsite on some sand dunes in a town 30 miles north of Coos Bay (stomping grounds of Prefontaine.)

We got breakfast this morning at a small cafe on a boat at a marina and headed out. We made some decent time before Steve had run over a bit of glass on the shoulder. Within 20 minutes, a lady had offered to drive him to the nearest bike shop; another lucky day (and what nice people!)

Another 15 miles after that, and we were in Coos Bay. It was a bit too dark to do what we had intended (check out Marshfield HS, Pre's high school, as well as his memorial etc) so we are now camping at another sand dune park. Tomorrow we will check out all that "Pre" stuff, and head on down the 101.


PS Pictures from the last week or 2 to be up very soon!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Seattle to Portland and Eugene

Hey all peeps that follow this!

We arrived in Eugene. We also hadn't found a place to stay from so what better place to rest than Hayward Field!! We scouted out the place and figured the top row of bleachers under some skinny overhang/table structure would prove best; as to avoid anyone seeing us, kicking us out, you know...

Backtracking a bit...from Seattle, we headed south thru Olympia a couple days ago to arrive in Portland. Portland was a nice city, very progressive and the like. I would highly recommend eating at Hot Lips pizza as well as the Laughing Planet burrito place. We were able to secure a place at a house on the SE side of town. The people were very nice and had made us an equally nice breakfast in the morning. Such an amazing side of people you don't normally see (though cycling has a certain way of allowing you to be in the open, people talk to you etc versus the isolation of driving in a vehicle.)

On our way now to go for a jaunt on Pre's trail, check out Pre's rock, maybe hit up a Carl's Jr for some quality eats...

Saturday, October 10, 2009


First I want to apologize to anyone who checks daily for the lack of posts.  We have had some great weather the past week and have taken advantage of it by exploring Washington. 

We started in Bellingham where we met a great girl who has posted on this blog twice now.  Lara cycled from Boston to the west coast a few years ago.  We were able to talk for a while and she could relate to our ups and downs of this trip.  I believe she is planning another trip right now, and I hope she keeps us updated on her adventures.

From Bellingham we traveled 55 miles or so to Mt. Vernon.  When we got there, we were planning on staying at an RV park, but when we got there, it was full.  We had two options:  We could find a hotel, or we could set up camp somewhere.  This is pretty normal, but this was the first time we were near a major city with no farm land or countryside near by.  After looking at an area behind a McDonalds and deciding against, we traveled another mile until we found the future site of a Harley Davidson dealer.  We put our bikes in the high weeds and carried our tent about 100 feet off the 4 lane road into an area where they had hauled the trees cut and the dirt that was moved for the future building.  Through these trees, we could see part of a Wal*Mart and to our right was a Jack in the Box.  No bears or moose. 

The next day we stayed on a sail boat in a Seattle marina.  Seattle is a beautiful city.  The city is very clean considering the weather they get.  Every bus that travels through the city is electric like the majority of the busses in Vancouver.  They look like the Delorean from Back to the Future with huge antennas that follow power lines above the street.  We also went on a tour of Seattle that took us underground.  When Seattle was first built, it had a lot of trouble with the rain, the tide, and then a huge fire that wiped out 33 square blocks.  When they built the city back up, they built on top of the old city.  They built it above the old city.  It's very strange, but some of the old city is still under and the tour took us through that city.  Another stop we made was to the pike's market where we saw a number of fish throwers.  I don't know why they throw the fish, but everyone seemed to enjoy it.  Our final stop before leaving was to REI.  REI is an outdoor athletic store for those in Ohio.  REI Seattle is huge.  They have a 5 story rock climbing wall in the store amongst other great ways to demo their products.  I would highly recomend stopping or calling an REI if you are ever planning a camping, sking, biking, or hiking trip.  The workers are extremely helpful and all love what they are doing.  Seattle was another city I will come back to at some point.

While we were on the tour of Seattle, one of the guides, Gail, asked if we needed a place to crash for the night.  She rides a bike to work everyday, around 7 miles one way.  Gail was great!  She made us burritos and popcorn and was cracking us up all night.  If you ever take a tour of underground Seattle, ask for Gail as your tour guide.

We are now on our way to Portland.  I will update tomorrow more details.